Archive for the ‘ ~3 to 5 Miles~ ’ Category

Wakefield Pond – Burrillville/Thompson

  • Wakefield Pond
  • Wakefield Road, Burrillville, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°58’15.94″N,71°47’51.77″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 21, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.0 miles
  • Moderate due to footing and some elevation.


Wakefield Pond is often overlooked as it lies between some of the more predominate recreational areas. The Buck Hill Management Area to the north, the George Washington Management Area to the south, and the Quaddick State Forest to the west often overshadow this area. The pond is flanked to the west by a Boy Scout Camp and the northeast by a couple dozen homes. This hike is an out and back that follows dirt roads. Starting from the corner of Wakefield Road where it bends onto Croff Road there is a dirt road that heads to the east. Almost immediately you will come upon a historical cemetery on the left. The road then starts to descend downhill, into Thompson, to a four way intersection. Along the way there are a few trails to the left. Notice the “No Trespassing” signs, this is the land of the Boy Scouts. When you have reached to intersection turn left. This is Wakefield Pond Road and it heads south through the Quaddick State Forest for a bit before coming to more Boy Scout property. There is a long steady stretch of uphill walking here. After the top of the hill you will see a cellar hole on the right with an old shed behind it. The road then descends downhill once again and curves to the left heading back into Burrillville after crossing Blackmore Brook. In the distance to the left you will see the stonework of the stone and earthen dam that holds the water in Wakefield Pond. There is a trail to the left that leads to a wooden bridge and dam. This is private property. Continue ahead for a view of the pond. Next there is a road to the right that leads to Peck Pond. For this hike continue straight along the road. At the one and a half mile mark, just as the pond starts to turn away from the pond, there is a nice little spot with a sweeping view of the pond. From here retrace your steps back to the beginning of the hike. The roads that you follow for this hike are rather rocky, some loose in many spots. Beware of your footing.


Fall Colors By The Pond.

Francis Carter East – Charlestown

  • Francis C. Carter Preserve – East
  • Old Mill Road, Charlestown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°25’56.23″N, 71°40’8.20″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 8, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.0 miles
  • Moderate due to some elevation.


The Francis Carter Preserve is a hilly sprawling tract of land in Charlestown and is large enough to split into two separate hikes. The eastern half of the preserve offers trails that wind through a forest covered in blueberry and huckleberry shrubs, stone walls, outcrops, and boulders. There are two entrances to the preserve as well. For this hike, we (fellow hikers) choose to start at the larger parking area along Old Mill Road. From here we followed a dirt road just a few feet before turning right onto the yellow blazed trail. This trail traverses across the property from one parking lot to the other. We followed it nearly to its end before turning left onto the red trail. Along the way we passed several stone walls, climbed up and over several small hills, while passing through a forest of beech, birch, and pines. The blue blazed trail three times comes to the yellow trail as we opted to ignore it at this point. There are also cairns along the yellow trail as well as some impressive rock outcrops. At the time of this hike we also came across a split boulder that was “dressed up” as a frog. Someone has added a couple smaller stones to give the large boulder the appearance that it had eyes and a tongue. We choose to ignore the short Split Rock Trail and then turn left shortly after onto the red trail. This trail heads north first paralleling Carolina Back Road before turning back to the west. It also climbs up and over several smalls hills as it winds through the forest. Along the red trail there is a small bench to sit for a break if you choose. You will also catch a glimpse of a pond just to the north. You may also catch a glimpse or at least hear the train come through on just the other side of the pond. At the end of the red trail we turned right onto the blue trail. Soon again you will catch another glimpse of the pond below. There are a couple unmarked spur trails that lead to the pond. At the next intersection there are two blue trails. They both lead to the yellow trail, we stayed to the right at this juncture. Soon we came to yet another intersection. An unmarked connector trail the western part of the preserve appears on the right. We continued straight following the blue blazed trail to its end. Here we turned right following the yellow blazed trail back to the dirt road. Turning left would lead us back to the parking area. Take a look around the area here. You will notice a cellar hole and an old water pump. There is also a restroom here. This preserve is open to hunting so wearing orange is a must during hunting season.


Trail maps can be found at: Francis Carter East


Along the Yellow Trail

Casey Farm – North Kingstown

  • Casey Farm
  • Boston Neck Road, North Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°30’43.45″N, 71°25’23.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 24, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.1 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.


Most locals know Casey Farm for its farmer markets (one of the best in the state). Others know the farm for being a historical site. What a lot of people are not aware of is that Casey Farm offers miles of trails. Though the trails are not technically open to the public, on occasion there are guided walks of the trails. For this hike, I joined a small group attending a Rhode Island Land Trust Days event. The hike was led by the very knowledgeable Dr. Bob Kenney of the University of Rhode Island. Mr. Kenney, (a walking encyclopedia of birds, mushrooms, and plants) volunteers quite often for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Audubon Society. In fact this is not the first of his hikes I have been on. In 1659, several colonists bought the land on Boston Neck for a mere 18 cents per acre from the Narragansetts. One of these families were the Richardsons. By 1702 half of that property belonged to the family that founded Casey Farm. The farm stretched from Narragansett Bay to the Narrow River as it still does today. The property, a working farm, is protected and owned by Historic New England. Atop the hill along Boston Neck Road is where the farm is located. It consists of several fields and structures including a large barn as well as old New England style stone walls. The first part of the hike took us into the eastern part of the property down to Casey Point. The old cart path passes through areas of wildflowers including wild snapdragon, black swallowwort milkweed, and heart leaved aster. There is also an abundance of ferns, mushrooms, and an invasive shrub known as devils walking stick. This area is also a haven for birds as we saw and heard catbirds, woodpeckers, and red tailed hawks. When we reached the point we had sweeping views of the west passage of Narragansett Bay. Across the bay is Jamestown and the large open field is part of Watson Farm (another Historic New England property). Beyond Jamestown you will see the Newport Bridge. To the north is the Jamestown Bridge and Plum Point Lighthouse. To the south you can see Beavertail Light and Dutch Island Light. After spending a little time on the point we retraced our steps back to the farm. From here we then followed another stone walled flanked cart path toward the heavily wooded western end of the property. We briefly entered the neighboring King Preserve, the newest Nature Conservancy property in Rhode Island. This preserve is a work in progress still. Most of the major trails are complete and open, however, there are a section of trails yet to be built. The trails are soft and there are boardwalks that cross wet areas and streams. There is plenty of ferns in this area among the birch trees and sassafras. We nearly reached the Narrow River at the bottom of the hill before making our way back uphill along old cart paths and dirt roads winding through the Casey Farm property. This stretch of the hike also offer sounds and sights of nuthatches, tufted titmouses, and eastern towhees. We then returned to the farm to conclude the hike. Casey Farm is open from June 1st to October 15th on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. There are also tours of the farm available. For more information please call 401-295-1030.


Dr. Bob will be leading another Casey Farm Nature Walk on Saturday October 8th.


Casey Point with The Newport Bridge in the distance.


Flanked by Wildflowers

Hanton City – Smithfield

  • Hanton City
  • Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead: Undisclosed
  • Last Time Hiked: September 17, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.3 miles
  • Fairly easy, slight elevation.


Yesteryear there existed a cluster of buildings in the woods of what is now Smithfield. This town was in an extremely remote area miles from any other towns or villages. The town was eventually abandoned and all that remains are several cellar holes, wells, and stone walls. It is known as Hanton City and there are several theories of why the town existed in the first place. Some believe that maybe the occupants were loyalists to the British throne during the American Revolution, others believe that maybe these occupants were diseased and forced to live away from the general public. Regardless, they had a small but fully functioning village in the remote woods of Northern Rhode Island. The properties in the area are owned by several different groups. Some of it is privately owned, some owned by nearby Fidelity. The rest is owned by the Audubon Society and the Smithfield Land Trust. The area is not open to the public and access is available occasionally when the Smithfield Land Trust leads guided group tours of the property.


Cellar Hole With Shelves


Dark Hollow Brook – Voluntown/Griswold

  • Dark Hollow Brook
  • Hodge Pond Road, Voluntown, CT
  • Trailhead: 41°32’28.76″N, 71°51’27.01″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 16, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 4.0 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, some significant elevation.


If you like stone walls and ledges, this is the hike for you. I met with fellow hiker Auntie Beak for this mid afternoon hike in the Pachaug State Forest in Connecticut. She has done this hike on several occasions and it was nice to relax and just follow her lead. The trails here are not blazed, therefore it is recommended to obtain a copy of the map for the forest trails and use GPS. (If you use Auntie Beaks map, linked below, note that we did the southern portion of her overall hike). Starting from the parking area just west of Kinney Brook along Hodge Pond Road we followed the old dirt road south into the forest. The first part of this hike you will continue straight along the main road ignoring side trails. After climbing uphill for a bit we came upon an old stone building. The stone work is quite impressive. Continuing along the old dirt road, immediately following the stone building is an open field with flowers. It appears this might have once been a garden. Further ahead is a seasonal brook and waterfall to the right. Soon after there are some beautiful ledges as well. At the end of the road turn right and start heading northwest. You will start to see more impressive ledges along this stretch. At the next intersection merge to the left. The trail becomes much more primitive and narrow at this point as it meanders through a forest of rocks and boulders. Ahead, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you will come to a bridge that crosses Dark Hollow Brook. At the next two trail splits stay to the left. You are now in the Town of Griswold. Ahead stay to the right, the trail now winds as it climbs uphill toward an old farm site. The trail soon becomes flanked with stone walls. Take your time here and look around. There is a well here and several old farm tools abandoned years ago. The trail soon comes to another dirt road. Stay to the left here and follow the road back to the paved Hodge Pond Road. Turn right and follow the paved road downhill back to the parking area. You will pass a cemetery along the way. Hunting is allowed here and blazed orange is required during hunting season.


Trail maps can be found at: Dark Hollow Brook


Trail Flanked By Stone Walls

DuVal Farm – South Kingstown

  • DuVal Farm/Susannah’s Woods
  • Post Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°24’1.81″N, 71°35’5.67″W
  • Last Time Hiked: August 28, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.9 miles
  • Moderate with some elevation.


Duval Farm, also known as Susannah’s Woods, is a South Kingstown Land Trust property that offers quite a bit. There are four separate trails here that wander through the woods, over hills, and by a pond. This property has an abundance of both mountain laurel and wild blueberries. Hiking in June for the mountain laurel or July for the blueberries are highly recommended. There is also a scenic overlook on the property and on clear days you can see Block Island. The view, somewhat boxed in by trees in the summer would be more impressive when the leaves are off the trees. There is a parking area in front of the cemetery along Post Road for a few automobiles. From here head west a few feet west along Post Road (following the blue blazes) to the trail head. The trail then heads into the woods passing a kiosk with the trail map. For this hike follow the blue blazed trail briefly to the first intersection. Turn left onto the red blazed trail (Polly’s Rock Loop). You will soon be along a ridge of a hill that is covered with low lying wild blueberry shrubs. The amount of them looks like waves along the slopes of the hills. You will also catch your first glimpse of the mountain laurel among the forest of oaks and pines. At the next intersection turn left onto the green blazed trail (Jones Camp Trail). The trail passes stone walls and areas of ferns. There are also some low lying wires to watch for. The trail will lead you west and eventually to Bull Head Pond. Near the end of the trail there is a small loop and you can see the pond through the trees. After the loop retrace your steps back to the red trail. Here turn left and follow the red blazes to the intersection of the yellow trail. Along the way there is a grove of mountain laurel that would look spectacular in bloom. The trail then climbs a rather significant hill before coming to a trail on the left. It is a short crossover trail that will shave a bit off your distance. For this hike continue straight following the red blazes passing the other end of the crossover trail. Soon you will reach the yellow trail (Lyn’s Loop) where you will turn left. The yellow trail heads north almost to Gravelly Hill Road before looping back south to a four way intersection with the blue blazed trail (DuVal Trail). Turn left here onto the Duval Trail and follow it to Gravelly Hill Road. Turn right onto the road and look for the blue blazed trail on the left just after a driveway. The trail then quickly climbs a hill, turns right (at the intersecton), and follows a ridge above the road. The blazes become far an few between along this stretch. Soon the trail widens at a rocky and sandy area. This is the overlook where on clear days you can see the ocean and Block Island off in the distance. The Duval Trail continues for nearly 2 more miles (4 miles out and back) to Red House Road up and over several hills. If you would like a hike of up to eight miles feel free to hike to the end of the trail. For this hike retrace your steps along the blue blazed trail back to the four way intersection. Here you will turn left onto an unmarked trail (non-system trail) that quickly descends downhill. The trail splits, stay to the right and follow it to the back side of the cemetery. The other trail loops around and eventually rejoins the unmarked trail. The trail then passes through the cemetery. There are graves from the early 1800’s here and at the front end of the parcel is the site of a meeting house that was built in 1750. After passing through the cemetery the trail winds downhill to the parking area.


Trail maps can be found at: Duval Farm


Pine Needle Covered Trail

Skunk Hill – Hopkinton

  • Skunk Hill – Arcadia Wildlife Management Area
  • Skunk Hill Road, Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°32’36.79″N, 71°43’35.60″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 13, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 3.1 miles
  • Moderate.


This hike, on lesser known trails in the Arcadia Management Area, offered a wide array of animals and insects to view. Chipmunks, woodland birds, hawks, the aptly named Green June beetle, and an abundance of gypsy moth caterpillars were all observed on this hike. Thankfully, no skunk! I’ve also listed this hike as moderate for a couple of reasons. Though most of it is fairly easy, the trails here are not blazed, and in one section almost non-existent. There is also one stretch, being a hill, that climbs upward for a bit. I strongly advise having a trail map and/or GPS before doing this hike. Starting at a small parking area by a red gate on Skunk Hill Road I headed east descending slowly down Skunk Hill. The trail, named Richardson Trail, is a wide cart path. At about two-tenths of a mile there is a four way trail intersection. Turn right here. For the next half mile the trail follows the edge of the hill weaving through areas of mountain laurel. At the time of this hike the gypsy moth caterpillars were feasting on the woodland trees. The trail splits, stay to the left and again you will be descending downhill. There area tends to get wet and the trail can be muddy. About three tenths of a mile from the last intersection you will want to look for a narrow trail on the left. There is a small clearing in the area of the turn, but if you are not looking for it you will miss it. After turning left, follow the narrow trail out to Blitzkrieg Trail and turn left again. If you went the right way you should be on a dirt road with a gate. A driveway to the right will have a “Private” and “Deaf Cat” sign. For the next six tenths of a mile you will follow the Blitzkrieg Trail passing the unmarked but gated Richardson Trail on the left. After you come around the bend you will see a red gate ahead of you in the distance. Start looking for a trail on the left with a hill at its beginning. If you came to the stream you went too far. After turning onto the trail you will be following a small stream for a bit. It is on the right but the ferns hide it very well. Soon the trail starts it climb back up hill. After climbing the hill and about a half mile from the beginning of this trail there is a trail on the left. If your are adventurous then turn left here. It is a very narrow trail that is very overgrown and leads you back to the four way trail intersection at the Richardson Trail where you came in on. If you take this trail turn right at the Richardson Trail and follow back to the parking area. For the less adventurous, continue straight, the trail will lead you back to Skunk Hill Road where you can turn left and follow the road back to the parking area.


Trail on Skunk Hill